Staff Picks

November 2017 Picks

Dan recommends:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe lying on their backs in the bed of a pick-up truck, looking up at the Texas stars. This is a memorable coming of age and coming out novel where two friends– Dante and Ari–talk, fight, combat family secrets and deal with reversals in their friendship–leading to an amazing resolution. Ari is a lovable anti-hero whose journey toward self-confidence is full of humor and angst. It’s the central characters and plain-spoken poetry that have earned this novel a permanent place in YA literature.  Learn more about the author, Benjamin Alire Saenz, at

Amie recommends:

People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann (currently available as an eBook, soon to be available in paperback)

From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do?

This author is my hero.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

“David Sedaris lifts the corner of  ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives – a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.”

What they said.

Carole recommends:

Apex (Hunter series)by Mercedes Lackey

Being a member of the Elite Hunter Command imperils Joy in more ways than one. In their latest clash with Othersiders, the army of monsters nearly wiped them out. Apex City is safe for now. But within the city barriers, Joy must wage a different kind of war. The corrupt and powerful PsiCorps is determined to usurp the Hunters as chief defenders of Apex City and Joy is now squarely in their crosshairs. This is the third book in this tale and the story is just getting very interesting.


Kim recommends:

Grover Cleveland, Again! By Ken Burns

The historian provides a kid-friendly look at the presidents, each one getting two pages (well, four for Grover Cleveland). Burns discusses important events of each administration and gives the names of siblings, wives, children, and pets. The book is serious when it needs to be but with a funny, positive approach overall. Most recommended for grades 3 to 5.


Peggy recommends:

Mother Bruce by Ryan T Higgins

Bruce is a grumpy bear who likes no one and nothing but cooked eggs, but when some eggs he was planning to boil hatch and the goslings believe he is their mother, he must try to make the best of the situation. Sometimes even grumpy bears can make good mamas.


My Absolute Darling by (locally raised author) Gabriel Tallent

A fourteen year old girl, raised off the grid with a harsh, abusive survivalist father, struggles for the survival of her very soul in this gripping, disturbing narrative set in our own backyard. This book is not for the purists or the squeamish. But if you go into it knowing the world harbors many a dark place then you’ll love this book.


Karen recommends:

The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster

Known for her funny memoir books, Jen Lancaster has written an amazing YA book that delves into the world of suicide in a privileged community. Well written, this book keeps you hooked.



Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes

I listened to the audio version which was extremely well done. Very funny and new twist to the story of a middle aged woman who is told by her business partner to lost weight. Main character, Janey, explores all the new approaches to losing weight among the rich and famous and discovers some insights into her own self along the way.


John recommends:

A Voice in the Night by Andrea Camilleri

In this book Salvo’s girlfriend Livia is subtly redirected from cooking because of her inability to make pasta al dente.  Trust me, it’s funny.  The mystery of a loan shark murdered twice is unusual .



Jen recommends:

Helter Skelter: the true story of the Manson murders by Vincent Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, and this book is his enthralling account of how he built his case from what a defense attorney dismissed as only “two fingerprints and Vince Bugliosi.”

What I enjoyed about this book was the deep look into the Manson Family; including their movements, motives, and lives before and after the infamous murders. An exciting true crime that you may have to read more than once!

Ethos recommends:

The Amazing Spider-Man “Dying Wish” by Dan Sloatt

A tragic, and fairly morbid story from the more recent story arcs of Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Dying wish focuses on the uplifting social life of Peter Parker, however not is as it seems, during one of his last encounters with Peter’s more infamous villains “Doctor Octopus,” Peter’s consciousness has been swapped, and he is now left in the dying body of his mechanical limbed rival. With little time left, Peter must find a way to reverse his consciousness back before it’s too late.
This book serves as a great re-telling of one of Marvel’s most beloved superheros, however it not only gives more look into the social life of our web slinging underdog, but gives sympathy to the members of Spider-man’s rogues gallery.

October 2017 Picks

Amie recommends:

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

“12-year-old Jack Sawyer quests through parallel worlds, ours and the ‘Territories,’ to retrieve a mystical talisman that will save his dying mother and her ‘twinner,’ the Queen of the Territories. As Jack ‘flips’ back and forth between worlds he is forced to face the evils of the past and present.”

I read this when my brother was 12: picturing him as Jack broke my heart. There is a scene where Jack must walk through a long, dark tunnel that scared me nearly to death. I had to drive with my dome light on to my friend’s house just to calm down. It was fantastic!


The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K Hamilton

“Harold Gaynor offers vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake a million dollars to raise a 300-year-old zombie. Anita turns him down knowing it means a human sacrifice would be necessary for such a feat. When dead bodies start popping up, Anita infers that someone else has raised Harold’s zombie—and it is a killer. Anita is forced to pit her power against the zombie and the voodoo priestess who controls it.”

Normally, I hate vampire-y novels, but Anita Blake ROCKS! The Anita Blake stories are one of the original “creature” cross-overs, and they do not disappoint. I remember my friends describing a scene where Anita is chasing a monster through a hospital nursery as it snacks on the newborns, and how animated they were just telling me the story. I don’t think it is a scene in this novel, but don’t worry, you’ll get there. If you like True Blood, don’t read these, True Blood is lame compared to Anita Blake.


Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“A Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts, but, upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.”

Everyone thinks Frankenstein is all about horror, but I think it is all about love. And acceptance. If Frankenstein’s monster were a feral creature, I would tame him and let him sleep by my fire with my cats.

Karen recommends:

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

Interesting book that doesn’t really involve a bookstore other than a tragic event happens that leads Lydia, the bookseller, on a trail to solve the mystery behind the tragedy and her own tragic event.



Kim recommends:

High school senior Eliza is the anonymous author of an extremely popular online comic, but her real life isn’t as successful. Eliza has to decide how much she wants her worlds to overlap, and how to befriend her monsters.



Peggy recommends:

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

By far, the best Inspector Gamache Ms. Penny has written. A mysterious black clad figure stands in the center of Three Pines for days and when the figure disappears, a body is found in the church basement. What does the figure represent and how does it tie-in with the Surete’s investigation of opioid smuggling?

If you love Inspector Gamache and all of the quirky Three Pines characters, you’ll LOVE this novel! Copies will be available to check-out at our New Book Festival, Oct 15, from 1-4 pm. Quantities are limited so get there early.


John recommends:

Christmas Curiosites by John Grossman

This book provides a look at odd Victorian alternative images of Christmas such as Krampus, and other strangeness.  Very unusual.


Carol recommends:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. He finds out about his grandfather’s past and about himself in this fast and fun read.


Jen recommends:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Condo

An interesting new approach to decluttering and simplifying your home. While sifting through your entire home category-by-category, Marie suggests considering whether or not an item brings you joy. If you are ready to take the plunge, this book is a must read.